Nicolas Hamilton relishing BTCC future
Nicolas Hamilton admits he is relishing the opportunity to make his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship debut in 2015.
Joining AMD Tuning to pilot the Audi S3 for five rounds, Hamilton will become the first disabled driver to compete in the championship, due to suffering from cerebral palsy.
Having competed in the Renault UK Clio Cup and European Touring Car Championship previously, the Audi pilot will make his debut at Croft, and go on to compete at Snetterton, Rockingham, Silverstone and Brands Hatch GP in a partial campaign as a guest entry.
Admitting that it has been a lifelong aspiration to drive in the BTCC, the 22-year-old is hoping to inspire others to conquer their own challenges, just like he has.
Speaking to BTCC Crazy, Hamilton said: “When I was younger, doctors told me that I would never walk but I’ve never give up and now here I am, set to compete in the BTCC. I’ve grown up watching everyone race in it and now I’m going to do the same, it’s a bit surreal.
“I’m immensely proud that I’ll be the first disabled driver to race in the series. I want to inspire others to push past the barriers that are put in front of them and overcome challenges like I have done in the past.
“This hasn’t just been a spur of the moment idea that’s happened. For about two years I’ve been working on joining the BTCC and a lot of hard work has been put in to get to this point.
“I’m grateful to Alan Gow and everyone at AMD Tuning for giving me the opportunity to race as a guest for five rounds.”
Due to his cerebral palsy, Hamilton’s NGTC machine will undergo certain modifications, including an electronic clutch which will be fitted and to be operated by hand.
And, with the BTCC being notorious for it’s rough and tumble nature, Hamilton has revealed there will be several challenges he faces with his body when behind the wheel.
“It is going to be difficult but I’m up for the challenge,” he admitted. “I’m currently ensuring that I will be as fit as I can be but there are going to be issues I’ll face that other drivers won’t.
“Braking in a touring car requires a lot of pressure on the pedal, everything about it is aggressive. I’m going to have ribs pop out and my pelvis will also probably pop out from time to time too when I’m driving.
“It’s nothing new to me though and doesn’t faze me. When I raced in Clio’s I had the same issues and I managed to compete. It’s just another hurdle I’m going to have to try and get around.”
Widely known as the brother of double Formula One champion Lewis, the BTCC’s newest recruit is keen to make the point that he has made it to this point in his career on his own.
He explained: “A lot of people think that because I’m a Hamilton, everything will be handed to me on a plate – that’s not the case at all.
“Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to speak to people that I’ve met through Lewis but I’ve had to get them on-board. It was me that knocked on doors for sponsors, bringing the right people on board and the right team around me and management.
“I want to change the perspective that some people will have. I’ve always gone about raising the budget to race on my own terms and I feel it is a great lesson and experience of being a racing driver.”
Competing in just five rounds this season, Hamilton has already admitted that his maiden foray in the series is more about developing as a driver and getting to grips with the car.
For 2016 though, the Monster Energy-backed racer is targeting a full-time foray in the championship.
“This is more of a development programme, hence why we’ve got a guest entry,” admitted Hamilton. “It would be nice to have a full season in 2016.
“If we can make progress in the events we run during this season then hopefully that will put me in a good position. It’s nice to be a guest entry because it means there is no real pressure and we can do our own thing so to speak. We don’t have too many goals at the moment – making progress is the biggest goal.
“I’m under no illusions that this is going to be a challenge though. We as a team have about four days of testing planned prior to Croft so hopefully we can do them all in the week leading up to the event, that way I’m as prepared as I can be.
“The aim though is to be in the BTCC full time in the coming years, hopefully 2016 though.”
Article originally written on Thursday, 26 March 2015. Read more articles from the BTCC Crazy Archive.